Monday, August 31, 2015

Psalm for Sunday, September 6, 2015


Psalm 146:  7, 8-9, 9-10  (Read)

“The Lord raises up those who were bowed down.”

Our psalmist is singing about God's 
promises to the oppressed, the hungry, 
the prisoner, the blind, and those of us 
who are bowed down in one way or another.

We could all benefit by being set free in the 

Spirit or healed so that we are no longer 
blinded.   Then we too would no longer be 
lame, but would be able to “leap like a stag,” 
as the prophet Isaiah foresees in this 
Sunday's 1st reading.  (Isaiah 35:5-6)

The Psalm is telling me that I really need 

to humble myself if I want to be raised up 
with Jesus.  That may be hard to do if it 
means I have to swallow my pride and put 
aside worldly concerns.   But it I truly want 
to be set free from the sins that bind me, 
then I need to repent and bow down before 
the Lord, accept my brokenness, and seek 
his grace.  Only then will I begin 
to have a right relationship with the Lord.

And where do I turn to be lifted up and made whole again?  

I turn to the Lord.  Where else are the promises of our God 
fulfilled but in the healing ministry of Jesus, as this Sunday's 
Gospel tells me.  (Mark 7:31-37)   Who else has the grace 
and the mercy to heal me?

Christ carries out the promises of the Psalm – He sets us 

captives free and gives sight to us so we can truly see.
The Lord raises me up when I am down – He sustains me – 

with real food and drink.

So I can pray this Psalm, not only in honor of the heavenly Father,
but also in honor of Christ Jesus, whom God exalted.  

“The Lord shall reign forever, through all generations.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist says, "The Lord sets captives free."   In what ways are you captive, 

and how has the Lord set you free?

2.  The Psalm proclaims, "The Lord gives sight to the blind."  In what areas of your 

life were you not able to see things clearly, and give an example of how the Lord 
has enabled you to regain your sight.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Psalm for Sunday, August 30, 2015


Psalm 15: 2-3, 3-4, 4-5  (Read)

“One who does justice will live in the presence of the Lord.”

Our psalmist David tells us how we may climb the 
holy mountain of God and live in the presence of the Lord.
And in a similar way, in Sunday's first reading,
Moses tells the Israelites how to take possession
of the promised land. (Deuteronomy 4:1)

The way forward for the Israelites and for us is twofold --

love God and love neighbor.   If I truly love the Lord,
then my heart will not be far from Him, and I will keep 

His commandments.   If I love the Lord, He will remain
in me.  How else would I expect my heart to remain pure?   
When my heart is pure, I do no harm to my fellow man; 
and I think the truth in my heart.

St James tells us to be doers of the Word; we are to 

keep ourselves unstained by the world.  (James 1:22, 27)
And Jesus reminds us in the Gospel that it all starts
from inside.  It is within our hearts that evil thoughts 

reside.  The things that come out from within are 
what defile us.  (Mark 7:15, 20-23)

So, if I am right with the Lord and my heart is close 

to Him, then I will not slander with my tongue,
nor take up a reproach against my neighbor.   

Nor will I do harm economically to my neighbor.
If I do these things, as our psalmist says, I shall 

never be disturbed, and I will live in the presence 
of the Lord.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.   Our psalmist says whoever thinks the truth in his heart will live in 

the presence of the Lord.   How do you go about preparing your heart 
so that you are able to receive the Lord?

2.  The verses of the Psalm remind us not to slander, nor to blame our 

neighbor, nor to harm our fellow man, nor to hurt him economically.   
Explain how you are motivated by your faith to become a doer of the Word.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Psalm for Sunday, August 23, 2015


Psalm 34:  2-3, 16-17, 18-19, 20-21  (Read)

“Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

Once again we revisit this psalm of thanksgiving.  
And for the third consecutive Sunday the Gospel
challenges us to stop murmuring and stand up 

for our faith.

And the question is the same, “Do I truly believe 

that Jesus is the living bread that came down
out of heaven and that whoever eats His flesh 

and drinks His blood will remain in Him and 
will live forever?” 

Like Joshua, am I prepared to take a stand and 

declare,  “As for me and my household we will 
serve the Lord.”  Joshua commits himself and 
his family to serve the Lord.  (Joshua 24:15)  
What better commitment would there be for me, 

in our time?

Where would I go if I did not serve the Lord?   

To whom would I turn without my Lord and Savior, 
Jesus Christ?  I thirst for Jesus and would be parched
and dry without Him in my life.  I must Stop murmuring 

about how difficult it may be to accept His words
and declare that Jesus is truly the Holy One of God.
Who else would hear my cry, as our psalmist says, 

or confront evildoers on my behalf ?

“Many are the troubles of the just, but the Lord delivers 

them all.”   We are all afflicted.  Our Spirit may be 
crushed (as the psalmist says), but “God watches over 
all our bones.”

“When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all 

their distress he rescues them.”  Who else would listen 
to my cry?  If I cry out to the Lord, He will hear me and 
rescue me from all distress.  Where else would I turn?

I have the Lord as my ally in my fight against the evil one.
And with Him on my side victory is certain.  “The Lord 

confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them 
from the earth.”

So the teaching is clear –  “Let His praise be ever in my mouth,
and let my soul glory in the Lord.”


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  If we truly serve the Lord, we can be confident that 'He will watch over 

all our bones,' as the Psalmist says.  Explain how your faith has given you 
peace and strength in the face of your afflictions.

2.  We are engaged in a spiritual battle with the evil one and his helpers, 

but our Psalmist says that the Lord will confront evildoers and destroy them.  
Tell of how you have been able to defeat evil with the Lord on your side.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Psalm for Sunday, August 16, 2015


Psalm 34:  2-3, 4-5, 6-7  (Read)

“Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

We visit this encouraging psalm again this 

Sunday perhaps because the Lord wants us
to participate fully in the Eucharist and we 
need to hear it again.  Why are the same 
verses repeated?  Perhaps because they 
reinforce so well the powerful message of 
the Gospel, in which Jesus tells us that if 
we are to be raised up with Him, we must 
eat of His flesh and drink of His blood.
Perhaps it is because we struggle with what 

Jesus says, as the Jews did at the time.
We are told that even the disciples had 

difficulty accepting Jesus' words. (John 6:51-58)

The message is simple, as our psalmist reminds us – 

we must taste the goodness of the Lord if we are to 
truly allow our soul to glory in the Lord.  In today's 
first reading Wisdom invites us too to obtain life by 
eating of her food. (Proverbs 9:5-6)

We are to feed on Jesus if we are to have life.  If we 

eat His flesh and drink His blood, we will live forever.  
It is His humanity that enables us to eat of His flesh 
and His blood.  And it is by the grace of God that we 
are thus able to obtain a share in His divinity.  This is 
far more that our ancestors' manna. This is truly the 
bread of life.

By sharing in His body and blood, we glorify the Lord, 

and as our psalmist says, we become 'radiant with joy.'
Our faces no longer blush with shame.  We are a new 

creation.  The Lord is present to us.   We remain in Him 
and He remains in us.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  The Psalm reminds us of the power of the Eucharist.  We must taste 

the goodness of the Lord if we want to be delivered from all our fears.  
Speak of how the Eucharist raises you up physically and spiritually.

2.  Our psalmist encourages us to 'glorify the Lord' and to 'let our soul glory 

in the Lord.'   Explain how your faith has enabled you to draw closer to God 
by being filled with the Spirit.


Monday, August 3, 2015

Psalm for Sunday, August 9, 2015


Psalm 34:  2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9  (Read) 

“Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

What does Jesus tell us to do in this week’s Gospel? “Whoever eats this bread [my flesh] will live forever.” (John 6:51)  However difficult Jesus’ words may have been for the Jews to accept (or for us), the psalmist is right when he says, “Blessed the man who takes refuge in Him.”  Where else would we turn when we are in distress?

The Psalm says, “When the afflicted man called out, 

the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him.”
Just as the Lord answered Elijah and delivered him 

from his despair (1st reading), so He delivers us from 
whatever has bogged us down spiritually.

The psalmist prays, “My soul will glory in the Lord,
that the poor may hear and be glad.”  The word poor 

is said to apply to one who depends completely on God
for his deliverance and his very life.  That’s where Elijah 

stood that day in the early stages of his long journey,
totally dependent on God for the strength to walk the 

walk that was planned for him (1 Kings 19:4-8).
And if the truth were to be known, that’s where we stand 

even today, when we are short of endurance
along our spiritual journey.

The psalmist recounts for us how he gained deliverance,
“I sought the Lord, who answered me, and delivered me 

from all my fears.”  Despite the anguish in the psalmist’s 
voice, there is also a powerful, joyful spirit – “Look to God 
that you may be radiant with joy, and your faces may not 
blush with shame.”

Where does our joy come from?  How do we obtain a 

joyful spirit?  It comes from repenting and returning to 
the Lord.  Only then can we be embraced by the Lord.
Having humbled ourselves before Him, confessed our

sins, He takes us back.

He watches for us each day, encouraging us.   

He reconciles us and restores us in a right relationship 
with the Father.  And He provides the inner strength and 
the nourishment we need to complete our own spiritual journey.


Discussion Questions for Reflection

1.  Our psalmist tells us how to obtain a joyful spirit, "Look to the Lord 

that you may be radiant with joy."  Describe how the Lord has given you 
inner joy in the course of relieving you from your afflictions.

2.  The Psalm says that the angel of the Lord 'encamps' around those 

who fear Him and delivers them.  Speak of how your faith has been 
a source of strength and deliverance in the face of difficulty or persecution.